The Symplegades

When this had been accomplished, Phineus, in return for such great kindness, explained to Jason in what way he could avoid the Symplegades. The Symplegades were two rocks of enormous size, which were placed by Jove for this purpose, that no one could arrive at Colchis. These were floating close together in the sea, and whenever anything came into the space in the middle, they crashed together with incredible speed. Therefore, after it was explained by Phineus what must be done, Jason, having weighed anchor, set sail, and carried forward by a gentle wind they soon approached the Symplegades. Then, standing in the prow, he let go of a dove that he was holding in his hand. The dove flew straight through the middle , and before the cliffs dashed together, it escaped unharmed with only its tail missing. Then the cliffs on both sides moved apart; and before they could again rush together, the Argonauts, knowing well that all hope of safety was to be placed in speed, rowed with the utmost effort and brought the ship through unharmed. Having done this, they gave great thanks to the gods, by whose help they were rescued from such danger; for they all knew that without the help of the gods the affair would not have turned out so happily.


  1. hoc facto — (ablative absolute) when this had been accomplished
  2. ablative absolute – consists of noun/pronoun + participle
  3. faciendum esset — gerundive / passive periphrastic

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